Everyone I know plans beach vacations during the summer and I find those trips BORING!!!! I'm good going to the beach once every ten years or so. 😆 I an explorer and I love going to different places to do different stuff when I'm on vacation. So with this in mind, we decided to randomly pick St. Louis, Missouri for our vacation this year since we had never been and it was on my bucket list. Keep reading to see all the fun and excited activities we were able to pack into our four days in this beautiful city. I've added links to all the places we visited to make it easier for you to view.
Monday we arrived at our cute little Airbnb in Saint Charles around 3pm. The 2 bedrooms, 2 bath home was perfect for my little family. St. Charles Historic Main Street St. Charles is the first site of the permanent European Settlement on the Missouri River and where Lewis and Clark started their exploration along the Missouri. The area is filled with beautiful old homes with a total of 63 buildings listed on the national Register of Historic Places.
The house is located a few blocks away from Historic Main Street which is filled with tons of tiny mom and pop shops along with really good restaurants. I was expecting the shops to be open but they have weird hours. If you are wanting to explore this street, best time is between 10am-3pm. A lot of the shops close between 3pm-5pm. We decided to walk around anyway to get some exercise after the long drive and read up on the history of the area. I also got to meet Daniel Boone!
We decided to have dinner at the Lewis and Clark restaurant on Main Street. It was a beautiful old building with three floors of seating. We sat on the third floor and was entertained watching the staff run up and down the stairs all night. No need for them to hit the gym! We shared the famous toasted ravioli with red sauce which had a great flavor and I ended up eating more then my fair share. If you didn't know, St. Louis is the creator of the toasted ravioli so one must try them when in town! I ordered the fish tacos which is a spicy seasoned grilled cod, lettuce, pico de gallo, jalapeno cheese with creole rice and cajun tartar sauce. This was an amazing meal and the tartar sauce made the meal. I wouldn’t mind eating this again right now!
|3rd Floor of Lewis & Clark|
TUESDAY DAY 2 - FRONTIER PARK, KATY TRAIL STATE PARK, CITY MUSEUM, HISTORIC ST. CHARLES MAIN STREET, GRANDMA'S COOKIES, SWEET POPPINS AND RIVERSIDE SWEETS
On Tuesday, since I'm an early riser, I decided to take Scout out for a walk and explore more of the area while watching the sunrise. Frontier Park is part of the Katy Trail State Park and only a few blocks away from our rental. It is a beautiful park that is well maintained and filled with cute little bunnies. The sunrise was amazing, and I even found someone watching the sun come up while playing his guitar. It was a very peaceful place to be and a good way to start the day.
On the agenda today was a trip to the amazing City Museum! There is a paid parking lot across from the building so that made it easy. I can't remember the cost though. We got there bright and early because I had read that it can get really hot so we wanted to beat the heat. It was a fun time and makes any age feel like a kid again.
I was under the impression that the full building was filled with things to explore when in reality it is only 4 floors and then you must climb this dark spiral staircase to get to the 10 story side. It was a struggle because by this time it was really hot and hard to breath but with plenty of stops we made it to the top and was able to take the slide down. It reminds me of something out of Harry Potter.
There are tons of things to climb on outside the building and the kids were all having so much fun. They were fearless! To get to the top, you must take an elevator on the 4/5 floor and it does not open until 11am. We were lucky enough to be the 2nd in line but by the time we came down, there was a long line waiting to get up. Visiting the bus and the bird nest was pretty fun as well. All and all this is a must do at least once!
I had read in reviews that you should bring knee pads. I didn’t really think that was needed. Maybe for kids as they can get into the tight spaces that adults cannot. I would recommend bringing your own drinks. We bought two lemonades for $7 but they tasted like water with a tiny amount of lemon flavor.
|Front Doors! Buy tickets online and save $|
|I may look dorky with my "fanny pack" but it was perfect to carry my phone and money while keeping my hands free to explore! Highly recommend. |
|My kid the daredevil. I stayed safety on the bridge. |
|Stairs to the slide|
After a long day of playing at City Museum, we decided to walk around the Historic Main Street before the shops closed. I picked up some cookies from Grandma’s Cookies which has been making one-of-a-kind cookies since 1976. I had a Chocolate Chip Cookie, Oatmeal Cookie and Peanut Butter Cookie. My favorite is the Peanut Butter Cookie or maybe the Chocolate Chip! The kiddo ate all the chocolate chip cookies before I could try another one!
We decided to have dinner at Waffle House which is my kiddos favorite. However, this place had just lost their air condition and it was so hot. The managers would not close the dinner down or let the ladies use fans. I felt so bad for them and shame on those managers. We ate our meal and was glad to leave as fast as possible.
WEDNESDAY DAY 3 - GATEWAY ARCH, ST LOUIS WHEEL, MINI GOLF, ST. LOUIS AQUARIUM, THE TRAIN SHED, ESCAPE ON MAIN AND FRANKIE TOCCO'S PIZZERIA
Today’s adventure is visiting the Gateway Arch which is 630 feet high! The best place to park is at Stadium East which is only a short walk to the Arch. It cost us around $8. I recommend buying your tickets to the Gateway Arch online. It saves you a little bit and you don’t have to wait in line to buy tickets. Your tickets have different times which tells you when you can go up. Once the doors open, you make your way downstairs and walk through the museum. At the end of the museum is the North and South entrance tunnels. Although our tickets were for North, it was shut down and only South was working. We got their early, so we enjoyed the gift shop while we waited for our time. After shopping, we made our way to the gate and was allowed to go up early since everyone else had checked in. While you are waiting in line, you will be given a Boarding Pass. This will tell you what “Pod” you will be taking. Once you are let in, you find the spot on the floor with your Boarding Pass Number. From here you get to watch a short film before getting your picture taken and lining up in front of your Pod. The doors remind me of something out of Willy Wonka. Same can be said about the Pods. They are tight and fit five people. Dogs as well since we saw someone taking their service animal up on one of these. The ride is cool. The Pods are on a roller coaster track which helps keep the Pods straight while you are climbing the curves of the Arch. After getting out of the Pods, you have a few steps to climb to get to the very top. You only have 10 minutes at the top so use it wisely. The windows are tiny and you have to lean over to see out of them but the view is amazing! When it’s times up, you board your Pod and take the ride back down. You end up back where you started so you can visit the museum again or the gift shop before leaving.
|At the top is a tight fit|
|Looking down from the top on one side|
|Looking down from the top on the other side|
|View from the top of the City|
|View from the top of the water|
|The Old Courthouse across from the Gateway Arch|
Our next stop is the Wheel which is attached to the Aquarium. I was hoping we could explore the city on electric scooters but right before we arrived, I read an article that the mayor had banded the scooters because it was causing issued within the city. It was way to hot to walk from the Arch, so we decided to just drive. Thank goodness we did! It was a short trip but there is a parking lot attached to the Aquarium and was only around $7. Well worth the price to avoid the heat. We road the Wheel which was pretty cool. The pods are air conditioned and play music as you went round and round. I hate heights but it really wasn’t bad. I think being enclosed in a pod helped with the height issue. I felt more secure. We went around maybe 4-5 times and it was a fun ride.
After the Wheel ride we decided to play a game of miniature golf before hitting the Aquarium. The course is located right beside the Wheel. It was a nice course but again, really hot. We decided to just play for fun instead of counting holes and also skipped a few holes because of large families playing in front of us. It was a lot of laughs as we made up different moves to hit the ball instead of your regular way of playing. We looked pretty goofy but the laughs was well worth it. We both hit a hole-in-one though!
To get to the Aquarium, you walk through this outdoor section of vendors, shops and a large fish pond. The Aquarium wasn’t as big as I thought. They make it seem much bigger by putting you on a “Train” which is just a room playing a movie before letting you out the other side. The top floor is more like a petting zoo as there is tons of things people can touch and explore. There is also a small play area for kids. Then you walk into the fish tanks which was really cool. However, there was so many people there trying to get pictures of their kids in front of the tanks that it wasn’t really enjoyable. There is even signs saying “No Flash” yet everyone was still using the flash just to grab that Instagram picture. We jumped ahead of the mob and was able to enjoy a few of the tanks before they caught up.
We were starving after the full day we had so we decided to eat at The Train Shed for lunch. I have noticed that most restaurants offer deviled eggs as an appetizer, which isn’t normal for us, so I decided to give them a try. We also ordered the Fried Mac N' Cheese balls because my kiddo just loves Mac N' Cheese. However both appetizers did not show up until after our meals did so we didn't get to enjoy them prior. The deviled eggs, which was filled with bacon, chive and paprika, was good and had a kick to them. Not really sure 3 eggs are worth $8 though. The Mac N' Cheese was made out of smoked gouda, bacon, and campfire sauce. It wasn’t that good and we ended up tossing them out. The outer coating had a weird taste. I had the Smash Burger and it was really good with its white american cheese, griddled onions, campfire sauce, pickle on a brioche bun. I ate every bite!
Escape On Main For the afternoon, we decided to try our hand at an Escape Room and Escape On Main had an opening for the Pirate Blackbeards Treasure Room. We had a little issue with the markers not working so we had to try and remember every puzzle in our heads which was hard. We were still able to solve the puzzle with three minutes to go. They also allow you to sign their walls so it was filled with tons of people who had played before us.
After the escape room we hit up a local pizza place, Fankie Tocco's Pizzeria on our walk back to the rental. I hadn’t had a lot of veggies on this trip and was craving a salad so I had a really good side salad with their homemade dressing and the Pasta Con Broccoli (I think) which is Cavatappi and diced broccoli in a homemade tomato cream sauce. I loved my meal. The bowl was so big that I had to take most of it home. My kiddo had just a Single Topping Pizza and he didn’t really care for it. The crust was thin so he kept calling it the "cracker pizza".
Today was Zoo day! Even though it was another REALLY hot day, we sucked it up to visit the St. Louis Zoo. This zoo is free, however, the parking will cost you $15. I was pleasantly surprised at how big the zoo was. It is divided into six different colored sections which made it easy to keep track of where you were. I didn't take a lot of picture here because if you seen one zoo picture....you seen them all! I was so looking forward to seeing the Polar Bears BUT either they didn't have any or they were not out. Midway through exploring, we found the Penguin & Puffin Coast area. If you need a break from the heat, THIS is the place to go as inside the building the temperature is very low for the Penguins. You also get really close to the penguins with no glass separating you, but no touching is allowed. I had one swim right up to me.
|There was a baby monkey getting into everything|
|The butterfly room was amazing|
|Look at those ants work! If you look close you can see large ones watching the little ones work.|
We decided to stop at another pizza place and this place didn’t disappoint. It was really clean and busy. I wasn’t feeling pizza so I just had a nice big chicken salad. It was fresh and very good. My kiddo loved this pizza.
Before heading home, we had to stop at Fitz’s to try one of their famous Root Beer Floats. Fitz's opened this shop in 1993 and installed a 1940's vintage bottling line found in an old barn in Shawano, Wisconsin. As you sit at your table, you are able to watch this refurbished bottling line turn out one bottle of root beer every second. We got the Ghostbuster and it was amazing! I ate as much as I could but there was still plenty of ice cream left in the mug. We also picked up a few cases of our favorite root beer to take home. My kid had to roll me out of the restaurant but it was well worth it. You only live once so enjoy life to the fullest!
Friday Time to go home. There was only a few things we didn't have time for like the Citygarden Sculpture Park and the Glass House. All and all, this was an amazing and fun filled trip for anyone. I highly recommend everyone take this trip at least once to explore this wonderful city filled with so much stuff to do with or without kids. Don't forget those bottles of root beer to take home!